My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

2 Articles in August 2016

  1. What's the point of education?

    Last week The Globe and Mail ran an opinion piece calling for coding to become a mandatory subject in Canadian schools. I’m sympathetic to the idea, for I agree that computer literacy and an awareness of how the algorithms and programs that increasingly influence our lives is crucial to being an informed citizen. That being said, I disagree with almost all the points made in that article. More generally, as I continue to think about my own opinions of the state of education here in Ontario, particularly when it comes to math, I keep coming back to the question that heads this post.

    The entire article rests on a premise that Canadian kids are less prepared for jobs that involve coding because of its omission as a required subject. Frelix starts with a strong and confident statement:

    Parents have certain expectations when they send their children to school. They’ll learn to read, write, do math, maybe learn a second language, generally prepare for postsecondary education and build a foundation for entering the workforce. But most Canadian kids aren’t getting everything they’ll need for the working world that will await them upon graduation.

    This seems uncontroversial if you take as…

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  2. Entrelac is my new favourite thing

    I knit entrelac now. Entrelac is cool.

    You can read the linked Wikipedia article for all the details, but entrelac is basically a knitting technique that involves working a series of rectangles (and triangles) to create a patchwork effect. Instead of knitting across all the stitches on a row, you knit back and forth across a set number of stitches (e.g., groups of 8) over and over. In the process of doing this, you create a slipped stitch edge that you can pick up to create the rectangles on the row above. So as you work one entire "row" or tier of your entrelac project, you get rectangles slanted in one direction and then rectangles slanted in the other direction. Here's what I mean.

    a start to my entrelac project, two tiers completed

    I've been admiring an entrelac stole in the local yarn store for a while. Back when I did my baby sweater class, the proprietor gave me the pattern for the stole, and I finally got around to starting it last month. I love challenging myself with my knitting by trying new techniques, and while I didn't anticipate entrelac would be too difficult, I admit to some trepidation. What I did not expect is how much I…

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About Me

I’m a 27-year-old math and English teacher back in Canada after two years teaching in England. In my free time, I read books! When I’m not reading, I’m writing, coding, or knitting.

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About this site

I started coding websites, in bad HTML on Geocities, in 2004 in a fit of whimsy. Since then I’ve learned PHP/MySQL, coded my own blog software, and rebuilt this site several times. With the exception of the blog, it’s currently running on the exquisite Symphony CMS. This website is hosted by HawkHost

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